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Licensed Vernon grow-op raided by police found in violation of city bylaw

A notice on the door of a raided grow-op states no one is permitted on the premises until it is brought up to code.
September 08, 2016 - 6:30 PM

VERNON - Police have yet to lay any charges after raiding two grow-ops in Vernon earlier this summer, but at least one has been shut down due to hazardous conditions.

Four people were arrested in mid-July after police raided licensed medical marijuana grow-ops in separate areas of the city, one on Scott Road and one in a commercial area on 14 Avenue. While the grow-ops were licensed through Health Canada, police allege the individuals were carrying out illegal drug trafficking operations and had possible links to organized crime.

All four suspects were released days after the raids, and now, more than a month later, police have not laid any charges. Cpl. Dan Moskaluk confirms the investigation is ongoing, and says it’s not unusual for these cases to take some time to conclude.

“We have to gather evidence with respect to linking them directly to the illegal acts themselves,” Moskaluk says.

He couldn’t comment on whether the grow-ops remain active, referring such questions to Health Canada.

When contacted about the specific incident, a spokesperson for Health Canada directed back to local law enforcement, but did comment generally about rules for license holders.

“Individuals are authorized to produce and possess cannabis only for their own medical purposes, and it is illegal for them to share or provide or sell what they have produced to anyone else,” Health Canada states.

We attempted to contact the people running the grow-ops, but were unsuccessful. No one could be found at the outbuildings on Scott Road that were raided by police, and the 14 Avenue location has since been shut down.

A notice from the City of Vernon is posted on the doorway of the building on 14 Avenue and states the premises were found to contain unauthorized alterations and are in hazardous condition.

“No person may occupy these premises until cleaning and/or repairs have been completed in accordance with that bylaw and the building inspector has confirmed that a satisfactory occupancy inspection has been completed,” the notice says.

The city declined to comment on details because of the ongoing police investigation.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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